Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

2018

Dir. David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Alison Sudol, and Claudia Kim

Harry Potter was my first literary love. It’s the book series that got me into reading. I adore the books, and they and will always hold a place in my heart. I am also a fan of the Harry Potter films, but as I grow older I have more problems with them. I’ve started to feel like there are more bad movies in the Harry Potter franchise than good ones. Critically, I feel I may be blinded by my love of the property. The first Fantastic Beasts movie was fine. It was a fun expansion of the universe, even if I did find Newt a little hard to connect to as a lead character. I was still excited for The Crimes Of Grindelwald though. The promise of exploring more of the wizard of world lore was enticing.

We start a couple of months after the events of Where To Find Them. Newt has published his book on the titular beasts, but is still banned from leaving the country by the ministry. Evil wizard Grindelwald has escaped custody, and a rumour has emerged that Credence has survived the events of the first movie. Albus Dumbledore asks Newt to go to Paris, where Credence is rumoured to be hiding, to protect the young boy. Grindelwald has more sinister plans for Credence, and heads to Paris in hopes to recruit him.

At this point, you’re either in with the wizarding world or your not. The film is steeped to the core in back story. Its what makes the film so hard to judge for me. As a potter fan, I love receiving all this new information about a world I’ve spent so much time in. As a film fan, it’s not that great of a film. It’s completely overstuffed, and the pacing is atrocious. There are some stand out sequences. The opening sequence where Grindelwald escapes during a prison transfer is one of the best action sequences ever mounted in the wizarding world. So is the final showdown, where Grindelwald delivers a rally to his supporters. It brings in real world stakes, whilst simultaneously reference our own history and the politics of the world today.

In both these sequences Johnny Depp is a standout. He’s casting was incredibly controversial, but he is in fine form here. Other new additions also make their presence felt. Jude Law is fantastic as a younger Dumbledore, whilst Zoë Kravitz is splendid as Leta Lestrange. If the new cast members stand out, it’s to the detriment of the returning cast. Katherine Waterston is completely wasted here, and a romantic sub plot feels so inconsequential. Dan Fogler is still one of the best parts of the series though, bring a great deal of comedy as muggle in the wizarding world. Alison Sudol was perhaps my favourite part of the first film, and she gets more to do here, but the choices made in her character development feel weirdly out of character, forced, and not at all earned. Eddie Redmyane is a much better leading man this round though, but here lies the series biggest problem.

Fantastic Beasts biggest problem is that it’s called Fantastic Beasts. When this was a stand alone movie about the adventures of Newt, that was fine. Now it’s been used as a back door into the Grindelwald story, it doesn’t quite work. It isn’t the right fit. Harry Potter worked because Harry was always integral to the plot. He was always uniquely tied in with the villain. Newt however is surplus to the plot. He has no attachment to Grindelwald. Even though he was the guy who put Grindelwald in prison, Grindelwald doesn’t even seem to care about getting revenge. If Newt seems forced into the story, the beasts he adores feel doubly so. You end up with two films that you’d quite like to see, one the adventures of Newt and his friends, the other the battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, but together they don’t quite gel.

There are plenty of Easter eggs for the hardcore here. Some subtle, owls delivering memos at the ministry of magic, others not so, Nicolas Flamel. They’re great to spot, but only end up bogging down an already over crowded film. You come away feeling like you would have loved to have read that as a book, but doesn’t hold together as a film. The middle is languid, and whilst it’s lovely to revisit Hogwarts, it doesn’t feel essential in what is to be a five film series. The film looks spectacular. I saw it IMAX 3D, and it was breathtaking. It might be the best visual film from director David Yates. Although, they now do so much with the magic, when you hear someone say Dumbledore is the greatest wizard of his generation, it feels slightly empty. There are no rules established in terms of who can do what. They’re lovely visuals, but they’ve started to lose some of the magic.

What we have here is a film that may sound great on paper, but in reality doesn’t work. It’s an overpacked mess, but there is so much here you are likely to enjoy at least some part of it. A more focused approach, and a better screenplay would have helped a lot. I came out wanting to talk about it, which is a good thing, but I feel my enjoyment came from being a fan of the property, not from having seen a great film.

7/10

Spoiler Territory

The big talking point in this film is without a doubt the reveal at the end. We find out that Credence is Dumbledore’s brother. Or is he. It’s a tricky one to unpack. Fans will point to the fact that there is an issue with the dates, as Albus Dumbledore’s mum died before Credence would have been born, and his dad would have been in Azkaban. Some think that Grindelwald is lying, but to me the Phoenix seemed to suggest he wasn’t. Credence knew nothing about the Phoenix appearing to Dumbledore’s in need, but we, the audience were told this earlier, so for Grindelwald to be lying is just a cheap trick on the audience, and would leave me feeling slightly cheated. There’s another theory which says that Dumbledore’s sister was an obscurus, and that when she died it latched itself onto another baby which was Credence. I like this theory more than any other.

I feel like the next film will be a quest to find the deathly hallows, and that JK Rowling is using the Dumbledore brothers as a thematic double of the brothers from the deathly hallows story. Credence represents the ultimate power, and so is the elder wand. Aberforth goes into a hiding of sorts, and also survives the longest, so he is the invisibility cloak, and Albus, racked with the guilt of his sisters death is the resurrection stone.

The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018 – Part Two

2017, Uncategorized

Welcome back! In this post we are looking ahead at 2018, and the movies that we can’t wait to see. If you haven’t seen Part One you can find it by clicking here. For now though we’ll continue to go through the movies which have us excited to go to the cinema over the next twelve months.

 

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A Wrinkle In Time

Every year Disney releases a blockbuster that offers something different. These films unfortunately in recent years haven’t done too well at the box office. Although not financially successful they do offer something unique, and original. Tomorrowland is the perfect example of this. A Wrinkle In Time is Disney’s 2018 offering, and it looks fantastic. With a distinctive look, and a director with a real voice and vision in Ava DuVernay, known for Selma, and documentary 13th, it’s the perfect fit for this space and time bending adaptation of the beloved novel. It also features an all star female cast with Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

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Deadpool 2

The merc with the mouth is back in 2018, and we can’t wait to hear what he’s got to say for himself. Proving that adult orientated super hero movies can still make money, Deadpool was the ultra-violent, ultra-funny shot in the arm that the genre needed. Let’s hope that Ryan Reynolds can catch lightning in a bottle again.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

 

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Mortal Engines

From producer Peter Jackson, and based on the best selling novels by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines is a steam punk fantasy where cities are huge moving machines that eat up smaller towns as they scourge the earth. This is sure to be a visual marvel.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

 

 

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Mary Poppins Returns

Some may argue that the original film didn’t need a sequel. They’re probably right, but we’re getting one, and we are excited about it. With Emily Blunt in pitch perfect casting as titular nanny, and the help of Hamilton star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on co-star and song writing duties, we can’t help but feel this could be a treat of a film for young and old.

Anticipation Levels: 6/10

 

 

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix

It’s always a mixed bag with the x men films. For every X-2 there’s a Last Stand, for every Logan there’s an Origins, and for every Days Of Future Past there’s an Apocalypse. So fingers crossed that mega-producer Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut is one of the better ones. The Dark Phoenix story is one the most well regarded in comic book lore, and even though it’s been adapted partially in The Last Stand, this will be chance to right old wrongs.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

 

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Annihilation

Alex Garland, the writer behind films such as 28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go, and Dredd, made his directorial debut in 2014 with Ex-Machina. A gloriously adult, and intelligent sci-if movie which made the most of its one building setting. To follow it up he’s going a bit bigger. Natalie Portman plays a biologist who signs up to enter an environmental disaster zone in search of her missing husband. This could be the break out hit of 2018.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

 

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

It’s time to jump back into J.K. Rowlings wizarding world, and this time we know what we’re getting. After an enthusiastic  if  mixed response to the first movie, we now know that we’re following the rise and fall of Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald. After being stopped by Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander in the first film, the sequel will reportedly relocate to Paris, and we will be introcuded to Grindelwalds friend who became an enemy Albus Dumbledore, played here by Jude Law. Harry Potter fans, it’s time to get excited.

Anticipation Levels: 9/10

 

 

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Creed 2

Creed was a complete suprise. A Rocky sequel where Rocky trains his old rivals son had no right to be as good as it was. Now anticipation is heating up for the sequel, with Creed lined up to fight the son of the man who killed his father. Sylvester Stallone co wrote the screenplay, and was going to direct it until he recently stepped down clearing the path for Steven Calle Jr. It will also feature the return of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

 

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Ant-Man And The Wasp

Coming after Avengers is Ant-Man and The Wasp. With Evageline Lily being bumped up to co-headliner the film will follow her and Paul Rudd as they attempt to unravel a mystery to uncover secrets from Hank Pyms past. If it’s anything as inventive as the first movie it’s sure to be a blast.

Anticipation Levels: 8/10

 

 

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Avengers: Infinity War

Possibly the Most Anticipated movie of 2018 is Avengers: Infinity War. The culmination of a twenty year, and 18 film plan. This is what it’s all been leading up to. Thanos has been teased since the first avengers movie, and we are finally going to see the big bad in action. It’s also the film where a lot of our main heros find themselves out of contract, so the stakes are raised as anyone could die. Returning directors Anthony and Joe Russo will have plenty of confidence after smashing Civil War out the park, and the trailer suggests they’ve done the same here. If that’s not enough it’s also going to introduce the Avengers to the Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Anticipation Level: 10/10

 

That’s the end of our Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below…